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Queens may not be able to lay claim to the city’s most high−profile film festivals, but an upcoming Long Island City series could be the one to beat as the most mouth−watering in the five boroughs.
The Third Annual New York City Food Film Festival will kick off June 13 with an opening night gala at Manhattan’s Astor Center and culminate June 19 with a closing awards ceremony at Long Island City’s Water Taxi Beach.
The festival, which will feature shows at the Long Island City waterfront and Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, includes 25 films of varying lengths and covers all five food groups. The series was founded by gourmet burger chef Harry Hawks, who operates the Harry’s at Water Taxi Beach burger stand in Long Island City, and George Motz, who produced the documentary “Hamburger America” and wrote a guide on the 100 greatest burger restaurants in the United States.
“Once again, we have received a healthy batch of food films for this year’s festival,” said Motz of this year’s roster of savory cinematic selections. “I believe the third annual NYC Food Film Festival will be our best cinematic scratch−’n’−sniff yet.”
A variety of dishes displayed in the festival’s films will be available for free during the screenings. Motz said the festival’s theme this year is “Watch What You Eat.”
“You will literally watch what you eat and eat what you watch,” he said. “People have a lot of fun at our screenings. It’s a very interactive festival.”
The film’s opening night selection will include two short films by director Joe York: “Buttermilk: It Can Help” and “Mutton: The Movie.” Attendees will be able to sample buttermilk produced by Knoxville’s Cruze Family Farm and mutton barbecue prepared by Manhattan’s Righteous Urban Barbecue pitmaster Scott Smith.
On June 14, the Astor Center will screen director Ron Mann’s “Know Your Mushrooms,” which is scored by indie rock band The Flaming Lips. The screening will also include tastings of mushrooms prepared by city chef Brad Farmerie and Hawks’ aged ribeye cheesesteak.
Neither event has sold out yet, Motz said.
On June 18, the festival will screen Campbell Scott’s 1996 hit independent film “Big Night,” which stars Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rossellini, Mira Sorvino and Tony Shalhoub. Attendees will be able to sample the authentic timpano, a meaty, pasta−filled deep−dish pie, served in the film.
The festival’s closing night awards ceremony will take place at the Water Taxi Beach. Festival−goers will be able to vote for their favorite film in the Audience Choice Award. This year’s jury is made up of city chefs, food writers and city Film Commissioner Katherine Oliver.
The Food Film Festival’s colorful selection of movies includes such evocative titles as “Beef Is Bueno,” “Celeriac,” “Clam Pie,” “Come Have an Omelette with Me,” “Eat or We Both Starve,” “Mandarin,” “Mr. Okra,” “Thanksgiving,” “The Food Hypnotist,” “The Power of the Peep,” “The Sandwich Thief,” “Vive La Food” and “Save the Honey Bees.”
Culinary delights on display in the films include mutton, cranberries, marshmallows, junk food, wild rice, sandwiches, barbecue, mandarin wedges, mushrooms, hamburgers, hot dogs, catfish, Italian cuisine, omelettes, clam pies and celery, which is featured in a thriller involving the vegetable and a knife.
The festival’s films range from two−minute shorts to 100−minute features. Food accompanying specific films will be free, but other dishes can be purchased during the screenings.
Motz said he expects at least 1,000 people to attend each outdoor screening and that the Water Taxi Beach screenings could draw more than 2,000 people.
All outdoor screenings take place at 8:30 p.m. Festivities after the films include food and a DJ, who spins music late into the night.
Tickets for the opening night gala are $35 and attendees must pay $85 for entry into the June 14 Astor Center event. But most of the festival’s screenings are free. For more information, visit the festival’s Web site at nycfoodfilmfestival.com.
Read film reviews by Nathan Duke at www.criticalconditions.net.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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